BERLIN (Reuters) – Bundesliga matches can only have an attendance of up to 50% and up to a maximum of 15,000 spectators after the German government on Thursday reintroduced restrictions for sports events amid rising cases of COVID-19 infections.
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor Olaf Scholz agreed with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states on a number of measures, including the reduction of fans in outdoor and indoor sports events.
Bundesliga matches must now reduce their numbers to minimise the risk of infection and bring capacity down to at least 50% up to a maximum attendance of 15,000. Most German stadiums had been operating on near full capacity this season.
Fans must also wear masks, and in states where infection figures are high, sports events must be cancelled, the government said.
“A temporary limit on the number of fans in the stadium is understandable,” German Football League chief Christian Seifert said.
“The DFL hopes that this decision by the federal government and the states leads to an improvement of the pandemic situation,” Seifert said.
German authorities fear a fourth wave of COVID-19 risks overwhelming intensive care units and on Thursday it resulted in more than 73,000 new infections and 388 deaths.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)